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Toward a Process Analysis of Emotions: The Case of Surprise

Toward a Process Analysis of Emotions: The Case of Surprise Based on an earlier model of the processes elicited by surprising events, the present studies provide evidence for one of these processes, the evaluation of the surprising event's relevance for ongoing activities (action-relevance check). The central prediction tested was that, if unexpected events elicit among other processes an action-relevance check, then response delay on a concurrent task will be more pronounced in a condition where this process is more elaborate and hence takes more time. In accord with this prediction, Experiment 1 found that an unexpected appearance change of the imperative stimulus in a choice reaction time (RT) task caused greater response delay than an equivalent appearance change of a distractor stimulus. Experiment 2 replicated this finding and tested several additional predictions that concerned the effects on response delay of a second appearance change of either the imperative or the distractor stimuli. These predictions, which were also mostly confirmed, were derived by combining the logic underlying the first study with the assumption that once made, appraisals of unexpected events are stored as part of the situational schema and are reused when the same or similar events reoccur leading to an abbreviation of appraisal processes. Experiment 3 once more replicated the basic finding of the previous studies and ruled out a possible alternative explanation. It is suggested that the proposed RT method of process verification may be of broader interest as a tool to study appraisal processes in emotion. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Motivation and Emotion Springer Journals

Toward a Process Analysis of Emotions: The Case of Surprise

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References (33)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Psychology; Psychology, general; Personality and Social Psychology; Clinical Psychology
ISSN
0146-7239
eISSN
1573-6644
DOI
10.1023/A:1024422330338
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Based on an earlier model of the processes elicited by surprising events, the present studies provide evidence for one of these processes, the evaluation of the surprising event's relevance for ongoing activities (action-relevance check). The central prediction tested was that, if unexpected events elicit among other processes an action-relevance check, then response delay on a concurrent task will be more pronounced in a condition where this process is more elaborate and hence takes more time. In accord with this prediction, Experiment 1 found that an unexpected appearance change of the imperative stimulus in a choice reaction time (RT) task caused greater response delay than an equivalent appearance change of a distractor stimulus. Experiment 2 replicated this finding and tested several additional predictions that concerned the effects on response delay of a second appearance change of either the imperative or the distractor stimuli. These predictions, which were also mostly confirmed, were derived by combining the logic underlying the first study with the assumption that once made, appraisals of unexpected events are stored as part of the situational schema and are reused when the same or similar events reoccur leading to an abbreviation of appraisal processes. Experiment 3 once more replicated the basic finding of the previous studies and ruled out a possible alternative explanation. It is suggested that the proposed RT method of process verification may be of broader interest as a tool to study appraisal processes in emotion.

Journal

Motivation and EmotionSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 16, 2004

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